By Graham Smith
A holiday in any European country is incomplete without visiting the stunning museums sprinkled across the continent. Every year, millions of tourists visit the historically and culturally rich countries that boast of magnificent collections of art and sculpture from across the globe.
The list of must-visit museums in Europe is exhausting, but some noteworthy names are Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Museum of Art History, Museum of Natural History, Saint Petersburg museum, State Historical Museum and more.
However, if it’s your first time to any museum abroad we recommend a few things that you shouldn’t forget while planning a museum tour to any European city.
Here’s what should be on your Do’s list:
- Take a local specialist. Most museums are very large, most tourists only have limited time. Get the most out of the museum and your time. Plus the information they give is second to none. If not with a specialist, bring along an information book that will allow you to appreciate the details and history of the museums and their exhibitions.
- Understand and plan to dress appropriately when visiting a church or other religious places of visit. For a lot of Italian church museums (like the Vatican), you need to cover your shoulders and knees.
- Understand and note visiting hours, there are a lot of late night closing times on certain days in the week and some museums are closed on certain days. Try to go first thing in the morning or at lunch/dinner time when museums tend to be a little quieter.
- In the middle of summer take a small plastic water bottle to keep yourself hydrated. Don’t forget to use bathrooms inside the museum, in a lot of European cities you have to pay for bathrooms, use free ones before exiting.
- Check which museums have free entry, and if you have limited time to visit, take advantage of this opportunity to visit a few in one afternoon, and you can plan a longer visit the next day to the one you like most. Often, museums are located close to each other, so if you have a free day to explore, you may wish to spend it visiting a few museums.
Be careful about the Dont’s
- Don’t carry large bags, anything sharp or selfie sticks. Some Museums may stop you from entering if you have such items.
- Don’t rush, give yourself enough time to explore. Museums in Europe are becoming too busy for you to run in and out. Don’t use flash photography, especially when the sign clearly says not to.
- Don’t buy food in the museum it generally is more expensive, eat well before you enter. Don’t carry food into the museum, this will often be taken away from you.
- Don’t leave anything unattended or even anything in your back pockets. Museums are becoming very busy and pickpockets work these areas. Don’t leave your children unattended or allow them to run around without supervision as that is not being respectful to other visitors in the museum.
- Don’t reach out to touch the artworks or exhibit, however tempting it may be. Don’t talk loudly or use your mobile phone in the exhibition galleries as it may be quite disruptive to other visitors in the museum.
Oh here’s a note: if you are in Mumbai make sure you check out Trafalgar’s first Travel roadshow in India at High Street Phoenix as part of the Gypsy Travel Festival 2017 on 28th and 29th January 2017, High Street Phoenix Mall.
(The writer is Trafalgar, Travel Director )